Alcohol and drug treatment budget cut
drug and alcohol treatment across Surrey in 2013/14 but this has fallen to 12% this financial year.
SCC’s cuts reflect a national trend in which councils are on average cutting budgets for drug and alcohol treatment by 15%.
However, UKAT argues that the cut in spending is costing people their lives at a time where the number of people dying from substance abuse is at a record high.
The charity claims that deaths are 30% more than when the budget for drug and alcohol treatment was protected by the government.
According to the Office of National Statistics, deaths linked to drug misuse across Surrey has increased by 18% over the last four years.
UKAT fears that future cuts will only exacerbate drug and alcohol dependence issues which will put further strain on the already stretched emergency services.
Eytan Alexander, founder of UKAT said: “SCC has been forced into spinning even more plates with even less money. This decision was, without a doubt, a catalyst for disaster.
“Slashing budgets on substance misuse is a false economy as it simply piles the pressure on our already stretched emergency services. The alarming correlation between the real term cut to council budgets and the rise in drug-related deaths across the country needs to be addressed and this vicious cycle needs to end.”
A SCC spokesman said: “We continue to work with the NHS and our local district and boroughs to ensure all Surrey residents have access to help and information because their health and wellbeing is of paramount importance
“However, we are facing huge budget pressures due to cuts in government funding and increasing demand for our services and we have to find savings of more than £100m this year alone.”